After the Great April Fools Day Prank of 2015 gave us a look at the Bucks’ new colors, the team teased an April 13 official reveal for its new jerseys. And last night, at a free viewing party at the BMO Harris Bradley Center the team unveiled its branding of the future (#BrandTheFuture?) in a ceremony that was attended by Bucks greats, the general public, a local indie band named Maritime, and a classic rock cover band, among others.
The actual unveil, which occurred at halftime of the Bucks’ contest with the 76ers with Bucks greats such as Oscar Robertson, Vin Baker, Bobby Dandridge, Michael Redd, and Jabari Parker (don’t worry about it) in attendance, started off with some fancy visuals showing off the inspirations for the team’s three colors:
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 14, 2015
After some more pontification from team president Peter Feigin and VP Alexander Lasry came the main attraction:
Bucks new logos, speed-painted. pic.twitter.com/qRSqGVynCp
— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) April 14, 2015
To the soothing sounds of classic rock covers, three painters sketched out the team’s new logos over the course of about 10 minutes, even though it may have felt much longer. Kind of depends how into speed painting you are. Nonetheless, as the sweet strains of “Don’t Stop Believing” rang out in the Bradley Center, the three logos–a ball and M combination, the new, fierce 12-pointer, and a Wisconsin silhouette stood before the public.
We got a detailed explanation of the significance behind the new colors:
GOOD LAND GREEN
The traditional color of the Milwaukee Bucks with a timeless twist. Emblematic of the deep woods and diverse landscapes of Wisconsin, the green is a hallmark of our brand through out 47 years of existence.
CREAM CITY CREAM
Just as the Cream City brick is the foundation upon which Milwaukee was built, Cream City Cream is the foundational color of the Milwaukee Bucks brand identity. This color is singularly unique to The Bucks, as they’re the only NBA team to feature a cream hue.
GREAT LAKES BLUE
Blue underlines the importance of the Great Lakes and multiple rivers in the history and future of our city and state. In fact, some think the word Milwaukee was derived from the Algonquian term “Millioki,” which meant “gathering place by the waters.”
And finally, we got an explanation of each new logo with its cultural, regional, emotional, and metaphorical significance:
The new Buck is only looking ahead, an imposing figure determined and focused on the path in front of him. Several features chronicle the transformation of the team into an undeniable force:
1. An expanded rack (from 8 to 12 points) showing the maturation of the Buck, and underlining the point that he has become an even greater force.
2. The basketball feature in the negative space between the antlers.
3. The M Shape within the chest chevron as an homage to Milwaukee
4. With hard edges that appear almost cut from metal, and industrial but classic proprietary font juxtaposed against the curvature of the logo represents a symbolic union of urban and rural Wisconsin.
Serving as a badge of honor, the secondary mark portrays a strong reminder of the rich heritage of Bucks basketball in Milwaukee:
1. Established in 1968, the Bucks are proud to be one of the five longest tenured NBA franchises remaining in their founding city.
2. The basketball that is alluded to in the primary logo begins to take concrete shape behind the antlers in this logo.
3. A stylized version of the subtle “M” from the New Buck’s chest in the primary logo is now called out. This brings additional focus to our home city within our new identity.
The outline of Wisconsin solidifies the importance of the entire state to the underlying fabric of the new Bucks brand. The basketball/antler element once again appears, representing a geographical anchor over the city of Milwaukee. This is the symbolic expression of the team as a statewide unifying force. This is the only element in which each of the three colors in the new Bucks palette appears together, introducing blue while retaining a strong green identity and use of cream as the foundational color.
While tastes will surely vary, I find these logos to be inoffensive at worst–and actually quite preferable to the uninspiring design choices that the team has utilized in recent years. It seems smart to promote a strong connection to the city and the state, especially given the still-tenuous nature of the team’s bid to fund and build a new arena in Milwaukee. You have to figure that any additional relationships formed or strengthened by continuing to reach out to the community will pay dividends when it comes time for the inevitable public funding confrontation, which is still far from decided either in the public eye or the state government.
And MOST IMPORTANTLY, these logos are looking pretty good on all that sweet, sweet merch the Bucks have already started selling:
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 14, 2015
However, those hoping to see actual uniforms utilizing the new colors and design will have to wait until a while longer:
.#Bucks will show off uniforms with the new logos after the season, team officials say.
— Don Walker (@DonWalkerJS) April 14, 2015
That’s the only aspect of this unveiling that I really find disappointing. We haven’t had enough other teams in the league with major redesigns like this to determine what a standard time period for the entire roll-out really is, but dragging the process out over almost an entire month seems unnecessary. I’m all for grabbing the people’s attention as often as possible, but on a night like tonight–when many viewers would already have seen leaked versions of the primary logo, at least–a reveal like this seems to be missing the impact that it otherwise would have.
Of course, maybe this is a bit too far inside baseball, as it were. But public reactions (and by that, of course, I mean Twitter) seemed decidedly split between those who liked the new logos, those who didn’t, and those who were left wanting more. I’m no trained media professional–and one of the classic strategies is to leave the audience wanting more–but I’d rather just see everything laid out there than wait for another teaser for another announcement and hope that one is the reveal that we’re all waiting for.
But regardless, life is good these days for Bucks fans. Not only does the team have new ownership, a new look, and hope for the future, but they’re also returning to the playoffs to try and make some noise in the present. Watching another step in the team’s overhaul just serves as a reminder of how far the team has come, even as we keep in mind how far they have to go.